Note: continuation of April 2016 General Conference (1 of 2)
To keep focused yesterday and today, I took elaborate notes and attempted to keep an attitude of praise and prayer throughout the sessions. I was serious about trying to have the Spirit with me to testify of those things that were said. The bottom line? I didn’t experience the spiritual uplift for which I had hoped and prayed. There were a couple of intensely emotional moments, but without the Spirit. There were a number of intellectually enlarging moments, but without the Spirit. Those spiritual moments that I did enjoy were exclusively tied to hymns, in particular when the choir sang Press Forward Saints (especially chorus).
That isn’t the entire story. At various times during conference I found myself praying about yesterday’s spiritual experiences. While pondering the topic of baptism by fire, I prayed to know what Joy and I need to do in order to receive the blessing of baptism by fire. “What are you willing to do?” There is only one good answer to that question: “anything,” but, I knew that I could not be honest presenting that answer. So, I answered the question with a question: “what am I capable of?” The Spirit was quick with a response, “Not much.” After an appropriate pregnant pause came, “yet.” I share this because it seems important to make the distinction between feeling the Spirit as a consequence of my circumspection and prayer as juxtaposed to not feeling the Spirit as a testimony and confirmation of those things being taught.
Naturally, most of what was taught I believe. You can probably understand given prior posts comparing the amount of scripture used during the Messianic Jewish worship services and prior meetings/conferences that I was both relieved and deeply nourished by what appeared to be a greater density of both direct and indirect scriptural reference. Praise G*d. I am truly biased towards milk as compared to froth, but I recognize that few share that bias and it is important for the speakers to keep their audience in perspective.
Based upon these experiences, there are grave questions implicit, but these will remain unstated. Perhaps as I return to read and study these conference addresses, I will find the spiritual experiences that I longed for during the last two days.
In closing, President Uchtdorf’s morning talk was of particular interest due to the relationship with one of this blog’s key metatopics: dimensions. He did a really superb job of making it clear that a scripture we normally think of as relating to our responsibility as shepherds over the flock can simultaneously have an entirely different set of meanings and implications. Hurrah!